The James Webb Space Telescope spotted an intriguing carbon molecule in a planet-forming disk

The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) has detected a carbon molecule thought to be a cornerstone of interstellar chemistry in a planet-forming disk of gas and dust around a young star, a recent study reports.

JWST found the carbon compound methyl cation (CH3+) in a protoplanetary disk system called d203-506, which is about 1,350 light-years from Earth in the Orion Nebula. The star at the center of the system is a red elf It’s only 10% the size of our sun, and the entire system is bombarded with powerful ultraviolet radiation from nearby hot, young, massive stars.

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